birmingham - The I-94 Bar
You just know some records will be good. UK trio Black Bombers summoned an explosive storm-front in the guise of a seven-inch single (“Crazy” b/w “That Kind”) in early 2015 that sold out its first pressing in a week. To say a full-blooded long-player was anticipated is like saying Kayne West has lots of self-confidence.
Black Bombers hail from Birmingham where everything is either black or Black Sabbath. Those local legends might be held in high regard around the globe but apart from a shared love for riffing and volume, Black Bombers are cut from a slightly different cloth.
Deritend – Cult Figures (Gare Du Nord Records)
If pressed to name a heartland for rocking hard pop you don’t normally nominate Birmingham. Call it the loudmouthed opinion of an Aussie who blew in once to drink some warm pints, but its Industrial Revolution décor and shitty weather makes it more of a Black Sabbath kinda place.
Of course the West Midlands of England has pumped out its share of pop (Duran Duran, anyone?) but, musically speaking, if you’d heard of Cult Figures you wouldn’t put them be among that crew. (Fun Fact: Roger Taylor drummed for them for one show.)
Birmingham’s Black Bombers follow their rough ’n’ tumble, rambunctious eponymous debut album and "Crazy" 45 with a Record Store Day single and it’s a totally righteous effort.
A slinky bass-line and sultry vocal (that’s Rachel Mayfield in the duet, ex-delicious monster) give “Rush” a downright sexy feel.“You take my mind over the top/You make my senses stand up,” intones guitarist Alan Byron before the song’s consumed by a monstrous guitar break and a wave of horns. Sonically speaking, it’s simply spectacular.
Mars - The Venus Fly Trap (Glass Modern)
It’s Not a Competition But I Win! – Lucy (Lucy)
El Bendito Y El Maldito - Horse Feathers (Polar Bear Records)
Yesterday Repeating - The Smart Folk (Self-Released)
The Venus Fly Trap? Never heard of them.
On investigating a little on the Interwebs, it seems that not only have I heard of them, I’ve probably heard them, but forgotten them.
Well, it was about 30 years ago, back when the UK was still reeling in the bass-centric aftershock of bands like Killing Joke, the Fall and the Gang of Four, but more importantly, the Second Australian Wave (you know, The Birthday Party, the Moodists...).
Let’s not forget the impact of The Scientists either... Certainly the Jesus and Mary Chain were heavily influenced by the BP and Kim Salmon’s mob of hairy ruffians; the JMC emerged, screaming like babies with diaper rash, in 1983. Also, around 1986 Big Black were making an impact on the UK (which would lead to a short-lived “subgenre” the UK inkies dubbed “arsequake”; there was another daftly-termed subgenre as well but you get the idea).
Last Bite b/w You Take My Money -Black Bombers (Easy Action Records)
So, Black Bombers are on tour through UK, which to many of us may seem bizarre as the place is far more riddled with the stupidvirus than we are in Australia. However, almost everyone's been vaccinated and boosted, and the latest major variant, BA.2 doesn't wallow in the lungs like a family of grumpy hippos like the Delta and Co did.
Now: there's only 300 copies of this single and I can't imagine there'd be that many left. Get on it while you can.
Why? well, first, the BBs are freaking awesome (as the young folk used to say) live and if you only have what they've released so far - a self-titled LP, a seven-inch “'Rush” b/w “Raw Ramp” (a Bolan cover), and the mini-LP “Volume 4”, then you know what you're in for, and any and every release from the BBs is greasy dark manna from Purgatory.
The only disappointment is that it’s six tracks and not a full album. The title “Vol 4” is an obvious nod to their hometown heroes and is as grimy and hard as the worst parts of Birmingham used to be, pre-gentrification.
Black Bombers are one serious raw power trio. Don’t dwell on the Sabbath heritage because they’re a step removed from their fellow Brummies’ relentless attack. Black Bombers lay down a looser groove and leave more spaces. There’s a multitude of influences at work including Motorhead, the Pink Fairies and Blue Cheer.